If you think back, perhaps you can remember a somewhat curious product that was trendy about ten years ago. Necomimi were originally introduced to the world back in 2011 as "cat ears that react to a user's brain waves." It was initially released in 2012.

The concept is pretty straightforward. The cat ears use sensors and move in response to the mental state of the user. For example, when a user concentrates, the cat ears perk up, and when the user relaxes, the ears fall and rustle cutely.

While the product has a certain kind of novelty to it, some users can feel a little overwhelmed by having their inner monologue on display in such a manner. After all, not many wear their hearts on their sleeves in save-face Japan. Nevertheless, some assert that the ears can actually help train wearers to switch their mental state and help them remain calm even while they experience stress.

New and improved

A recent press release announced that Necomimi are on sale again—with a few changes and improvements. Most notably, the product will "meow" or purr as the ears move. The ears have a built-in rechargeable battery and speaker, which help accomplish this type of emoting.

While amusing, these audio features may help provide useful mindfulness feedback to users. For instance, when the user is alert, they will hear certain sounds instead of others that they hear while relaxing.

The updated device also includes some superficial improvements. Most importantly, the shape of the sensor the user attaches to their forehead has been changed to resemble a paw. The feature suits the overall design of the product and ironically leaves a temporary paw mark on the user's forehead after particularly long sessions. While these are all fun features, the product can also be worn as a simple accessory as well.

Naturally, some may be turned off by the type of cutesy emoting the device embodies—nevertheless, it's important to remember that it's just for fun. Furthermore, in a country where non-verbal cues are essential for communication, the device could even help interactions go just a bit more smoothly. Why not give it a shot?

The best time to use Necomimi

So what occasions are best for the device?

When studying or working

Necomimi can be great for study or work. Cat owners will understand that its gentle purring sound cat help users concentrate on the task at hand.

While gaming

Fans of PewdiePie or CinammonToastKen will recognize immediately that Necomimi can make gaming more interesting. Adept users may even learn how to predict their opponent's next move by paying particular attention to their cat ears.

Talking to friends or family

Necomimi can also be fun when having a simple conversation. Perhaps they can help more reserved friends or family members open up. And during the age of Zoom social events, the ears work particularly well on camera.

Relaxing at home

Who knows, users may simply be accustomed to wearing the device and get used to the gentle sounds and emotional feedback. As such, the device can also be nice while relaxing at home—maybe even while with a few feline friends.

Indeed, Necomimi can help users have just a bit more fun while socializing or out and about with friends. Interested readers can find more information on Makuake's website. Information on the technology behind the device is also available at the NeuroSky website.

By - Luke Mahoney.